- A Directory of Medical Tests
Sometimes, doctors need to order tests to evaluate a child's health or to understand what's causing an illness. Here are some common ones.
- All About Genetics
Read the basics about genetics, including how certain illnesses, or increased risks for certain illnesses, pass from generation to generation.
- Aspiration and Biopsy: Bone Marrow
A bone marrow aspiration and biopsy are performed to examine bone marrow, the spongy liquid part of the bone where blood cells are made.
- Basic Blood Chemistry Tests
Doctors order basic blood chemistry tests to assess a wide range of conditions and the function of organs.
Doctors order biopsies to examine tissue or cells when they're concerned about a problem (such as an infection, inflammation, or cancer) in an organ.
- Blood Culture
A blood culture is a test to determine whether bacteria or fungi have entered the bloodstream.
- Blood Test: 17-Hydroxyprogesterone
The 17-hydroxyprogesterone test is mainly used to check for the most common form of the genetic disorder congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) in infants and children.
- Blood Test: Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT, or SGPT)
An alanine aminotransferase (ALT) blood test is often part of an initial screening for liver disease.
- Blood Test: Allergen-Specific Immunoglobulin E (IgE)
This test is done to check for allergies to specific allergens. It's especially useful in kids who've had life-threatening reactions to a certain allergen and for whom a skin-prick test would be too dangerous.
- Blood Test: Amylase
An amylase test may be ordered if a doctor suspects inflammation of the pancreas, gallstones, or other pancreatic problems. The test may also be used to help monitor cystic fibrosis.
- Blood Test: Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST, or SGOT)
An aspartate aminotransferase (AST) blood test is often part of an initial screening for liver disease.
- Blood Test: Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)
A basic metabolic panel (BMP), commonly ordered as part of routine medical exam, is a set of blood tests that gives information about sugar (glucose) and calcium levels, kidney function, and electrolyte and fluid balance.
- Blood Test: Bilirubin
Doctors may order bilirubin blood tests for infants or older kids if they see signs of the skin taking on the yellow discoloration known as jaundice.
- Blood Test: C-Peptide
A C-peptide test can help doctors tell the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It also can help find the cause of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
- Blood Test: C-Reactive Protein (CRP)
A C-reactive protein (CRP) blood test is used to identify inflammation or infection in the body.
- Blood Test: Complete Blood Count
The complete blood count (CBC) is the most common blood test. It analyzes red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
- Blood Test: Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
A comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) blood test helps evaluate kidney and liver function, sugar (glucose) and protein levels in the blood, and electrolyte and fluid balance.
- Blood Test: Dehydroepiandrosterone-Sulfate (DHEA-S)
Doctors may order a DHEA-S test if boys or girls show signs of sexual development earlier than expected. It can rule out certain diseases of the testes or ovaries, or help diagnose damage or disease of the pituitary gland.
- Blood Test: Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)
An erythrocyte sedimentation rate test (ESR) detects inflammation that may be caused by infection, some cancers, and certain autoimmune diseases.
- Blood Test: Estradiol
Estradiol is the most important form of the hormone estrogen. Doctors may order an estradiol test if a girl appears to be entering puberty earlier or later than expected, or to evaluate menstrual problems.
- Blood Test: Factor VIII Activity
A factor VIII activity blood test enables doctors to evaluate the functioning of a protein that helps blood to clot.
- Blood Test: Ferritin (Iron)
Doctors may order a ferritin test when they suspect kids have too little or too much iron in their bodies.
- Blood Test: Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) plays an important role in sexual development. An FSH test to measure the level of FSH in the bloodstream may be done if a boy or girl appears to be entering puberty earlier or later than expected.
- Blood Test: Gamma-Glutamyl Transpeptidase (GGT)
Testing for GGT helps doctors evaluate diseases of the liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts. It also can be used to check for liver damage related to ingestion of toxic substances or alcohol abuse.
- Blood Test: Gliadin Antibodies
The gliadin antibody test is used to help diagnose celiac disease or monitor its treatment.
- Blood Test: Glucose
The blood glucose test, which measures the amount of sugar in the blood, may be done as part of a routine physical, to help diagnose type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or during pregnancy to check for gestational diabetes.
- Blood Test: Hemoglobin
Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body. A hemoglobin test may be performed as part of a routine health exam, during a time of illness, or to detect anemia.
- Blood Test: Hemoglobin A1c
Doctors use a hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test to determine if your child's diabetes management plan needs to be adjusted.
- Blood Test: Hemoglobin Electrophoresis
A hemoglobin electrophoresis can help diagnose diseases involving abnormal hemoglobin production, and often is performed as part of newborn screening tests.
- Blood Test: Hepatic (Liver) Function Panel
Liver function tests can help doctors determine if the liver has been damaged. They also can help diagnose viral infections (such as hepatitis or mononucleosis) and monitor medications that can cause liver-related side effects.
- Blood Test: IGF Binding Protein-3 (IGFBP-3)
The main reason doctors order the IGF binding protein-3 (IGFBP3) test is to see if a person is producing a normal amount of human growth hormone.
- Blood Test: Immunoglobulin A (IgA)
Checking IgA levels can help doctors diagnose problems with the immune system, intestines, and kidneys. It's also used to evaluate autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and celiac disease.
- Blood Test: Immunoglobulin E (IgE)
The immunoglobulin E (IgE) test is often performed as part of an initial screen for allergies. High IgE levels also may indicate a parasitic infection.
- Blood Test: Immunoglobulins (IgA, IgG, IgM)
Evaluated together, immunoglobulins (antibodies in the blood) can give doctors important information about immune system functioning, especially relating to infection or autoimmune disease.
- Blood Test: Insulin
This test is often used to evaluate the cause of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or any other conditions related to abnormal insulin production.
- Blood Test: Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH)
Lactate dehydrogenase (also called lactic acid dehydrogenase, or LDH) is an enzyme found in almost all body tissues. The LDH test is generally used to screen for tissue damage.
- Blood Test: Lead
In babies and young kids whose brains are still developing, even a small amount of lead can cause learning disabilities and behavioral problems. A lead test can determine the amount of lead in the blood.
- Blood Test: Lipase
A lipase test may be done if a doctor suspects pancreatic dysfunction, gallstones, or a blockage of the pancreatic duct; or to help monitor patients with cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, and inflammatory bowel disease.
- Blood Test: Lipid Panel
Results from a lipid panel enable your doctor to evaluate the levels of different kinds of fats in your child's blood.
- Blood Test: Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
A luteinizing hormone (LH) test measures the level of this hormone in the bloodstream. LH plays an important role in sexual development.
- Blood Test: Magnesium
Doctors do this test to assess blood levels of magnesium, which helps the muscles and nerves function, the heart maintain normal rhythm, the bones stay strong, and the body process energy and make proteins.
- Blood Test: Partial Thromboplastin Time (PTT)
A partial thromboplastin time (PTT) test is used to evaluate blood's ability to clot. It may be done as part of an evaluation for a bleeding disorder or to monitor the effects of blood-thinning medication.
- Blood Test: Phosphorus
Doctors may order a phosphorus blood test to help diagnose or monitor kidney disorders, gastrointestinal and nutritional disorders, calcium and bone problems, or other conditions.
- Blood Test: Prolactin
A prolactin test can help diagnose prolactinoma, a usually benign tumor of the pituitary gland, irregular menstrual periods, thyroid or adrenal gland dysfunction, and other problems.
- Blood Test: Prothrombin Time (PT)
Doctors may order a PT test to evaluate a bleeding disorder, monitor the clotting ability of people with liver disease or vitamin K deficiency, or monitor the effects of blood-thinning medication.
- Blood Test: Reticulocyte Count
This test measures the rate at which reticulocytes (immature red blood cells) are made in the bone marrow and enter the bloodstream. A reticulocyte count can provide information about a child's anemia.
- Blood Test: Somatomedin C (IGF-1)
A somatomedin C test usually is ordered to check for pituitary gland disorder and abnormalities in growth hormones production.
- Blood Test: T3 Resin Uptake (T3RU)
Doctors may order the T3 resin uptake when a child's symptoms or previous blood tests seem to suggest thyroid dysfunction.
- Blood Test: T3 Total (Triiodothyronine)
The T3 total test is part of an evaluation of thyroid function. It's particularly useful in diagnosing hyperthyroidism, which can cause symptoms such as a fast heart rate, weight loss, trembling and sweating.
- Blood Test: T4 (Thyroxine)
Doctors may order the T4 blood test if symptoms suggest any kind of thyroid disorder.
- Blood Test: Testosterone
A testosterone blood test may be done if a boy appears to be entering puberty earlier or later than expected, or to check for damage or disease of the testes or ovaries, adrenal glands, or pituitary glands.
- Blood Test: Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb)
The thyroglobulin antibodies test is used to help diagnose autoimmune conditions involving the thyroid gland, or when thyroid disorders are suspected.
- Blood Test: Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies
The thyroid peroxidase antibodies test is primarily used to help diagnose and monitor autoimmune conditions involving the thyroid gland, including Hashimoto's thyroiditis and Graves disease.
- Blood Test: Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
Doctors may order TSH blood tests to diagnose and monitor treatment of a thyroid disorder or evaluate pituitary gland functioning.
- Blood Test: Tissue Transglutaminase IgA, IgG
The tissue transglutaminase IgA, IgG test is usually done to help doctors diagnose celiac disease.
- Blood Test: Uric Acid
Doctors may order this test if they suspect high levels of uric acid in the bloodstream. Some kids with leukemia or other types of cancer can have high levels of uric acid (hyperuricemia).
- Blood Test: Valproic Acid
Doctors may order a blood test for valproic acid, an anticonvulsant drug prescribed mainly to prevent seizures, to monitor how well the liver is processing the medication.
- Blood Test: von Willebrand Factor (vWF) Activity - Ristocetin Cofactor
A von Willebrand factor (vWF) activity - ristocetin cofactor test lets doctors evaluate the functioning of a protein that helps blood to clot.
- Blood Test: von Willebrand Factor (vWF) Antigen
Doctors order the vWF antigen test to help diagnose or monitor the treatment of von Willebrand disease.
- CAT Scan: Abdomen
An abdominal CAT scan can detect inflammation, infection, injury or disease in the liver, spleen, kidneys, bladder, stomach, bowel, pancreas, adrenal glands, blood vessels, and lymph nodes.
- CAT Scan: Chest
A chest CAT scan is a painless test that uses a special X-ray machine to take black-and-white pictures of a patient's lungs, heart, blood vessels, airway passages, ribs and lymph nodes.
- CAT Scan: Head
A head CAT scan is a painless test that uses a special X-ray machine to take pictures of a patient's brain, skull, and sinuses, as well as blood vessels in the head. It might be done to check for any number of conditions.
- CAT Scan: Neck
A neck CAT scan can detect signs of disease in the throat and surrounding areas. Doctors may order one to detect abscesses, birth defects, cysts, or tumors.
- Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Chloride Sweat Test
Is your child scheduled to have a sweat test? Find out how this test is performed and how it's used to diagnose cystic fibrosis.
- Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Respiratory Screen: Sputum
Kids with cystic fibrosis (CF) often get lung and airway infections. A sputum CF respiratory screen or culture helps doctors detect, identify, and treat infection-causing bacteria or fungi.
- ECG (Electrocardiogram)
Is your child scheduled to have an ECG? Find out how this test is performed and when you can expect the results.
- EEG (Electroencephalogram)
Is your child scheduled to have an EEG? Find out how this test is performed and when you can expect the results.
- EMG (Electromyogram)
Is your child scheduled to have an EMG? Find out how this test is performed and when you can expect the results.
- FAQs: Prenatal Tests
Find out what tests are available to keep you informed of your -- and your baby's -- health throughout pregnancy.
- Gene Therapy and Children
Gene therapy carries the promise of cures for many diseases and for types of medical treatment most of us would not have thought possible.
- Genetic Counseling
Genetic counselors work with people who are either planning to have a baby or are pregnant to determine whether they carry the genes for certain inherited disorders. Find out more.
- Genetic Testing
Advances in genetic testing have improved doctors' ability to diagnose and treat certain illnesses.
- Hearing Evaluation in Children
Hearing problems can be treated if they're caught early, so it's important to get your child's hearing screened early and evaluated regularly.
- Joint Aspiration (Arthrocentesis)
A joint aspiration (arthrocentesis) involves withdrawing (aspirating) a sample of fluid from a joint using a needle and syringe.
- Lumbar Puncture (Spinal Tap)
If your child is scheduled to have a lumbar puncture, also called a spinal tap, read about how this test is performed and when you can expect the results.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a safe and painless test that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed pictures of the body's organs and structures.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Brain
A brain MRI, a safe and painless test that produces detailed images of the brain and the brain stem, can help detect cysts, tumors, bleeding, and other problems.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Cervical Spine
A cervical spine MRI can help evaluate various symptoms and also help diagnose tumors, bleeding, swelling, infections, or inflammatory conditions in the vertebrae or surrounding tissues.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Lumbar Spine
A lumbar spine MRI is a painless test that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed pictures of the bones, disks, and other structures in the lower back.
- Newborn Screening Tests
Newborn screening tests look for harmful or potentially fatal disorders that aren't apparent at birth. Find out which tests are done and which disorders they're designed to detect.
- Prenatal Tests: First Trimester
Find out what tests may be offered to you during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
- Prenatal Tests: Second Trimester
Find out what tests may be offered to you during weeks 13 through 26 of pregnancy.
- Prenatal Tests: Third Trimester
Find out what tests may be offered to you during weeks 27 through 40 of pregnancy.
Spirometry measures how much and how quickly someone breathes in and out. It can help diagnose and monitor diseases that affect the lungs and make breathing difficult.
- Spirometry: Pre and Post Beta-Agonist
This test measures the effectiveness of beta-agonist medications and gauges how well the lungs are working with and without the medication.
- Stool Test: Bacteria Culture
A stool culture helps doctors determine if there's a bacterial infection in the intestines.
- Stool Test: C. Difficile Toxin
A doctor may request a C. difficile toxin stool test if your child has taken antibiotics in the past month or so and has had diarrhea for several days.
- Stool Test: Fecal Blood
Stool samples can provide information about a problem in the GI system. To test the stool for the presence of blood, a noninvasive test - the fecal occult blood test (FOBT) - is performed.
- Stool Test: Giardia Antigen
This test may be done if a child has watery diarrhea, abdominal pain, large amounts of intestinal gas, appetite loss, and nausea or vomiting.
- Stool Test: H. Pylori Antigen
A doctor may request an H. pylori antigen stool test if your child has symptoms that indicate a peptic ulcer, such as indigestion, abdominal pain, a full or bloated feeling, nausea, frequent belching, or vomiting.
- Stool Test: Ova and Parasites (O&P)
This exam may be done if your child has diarrhea for an extended period, blood or mucus in the stool, abdominal pain, nausea, headaches, or fever.
- Stool Tests
Your child's doctor may order a stool collection test to check for blood, bacteria, ova, or parasites. Find out how this test is performed and when you can expect the results.
- Strep Test: Rapid
A rapid strep test is done to help quickly determine whether a sore throat is caused by a strep infection vs. other germs (usually viruses) that don't require antibiotic treatment.
- Strep Test: Throat Culture
Is your child having a strep test or a throat culture? Find out how these swab tests are performed.
- Ultrasound: Abdomen
Doctors order abdominal ultrasounds when they're concerned about symptoms such as abdominal pain, repeated vomiting, abnormal liver or kidney function tests, or a swollen belly.
- Ultrasound: Bladder
Doctors order bladder ultrasounds when there's a concern about bladder problems, such as difficulty urinating or daytime wetting.
- Ultrasound: Head
Doctors order head ultrasounds when there's a concern about neurological problems in an infant.
- Ultrasound: Infant Hip
Doctors order a hip ultrasound when they suspect a problem called developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH).
- Ultrasound: Pelvis
A pelvic ultrasound can detect tumors or cysts and help diagnose pelvic pain, some urinary problems, or abnormal menstrual bleeding.
- Ultrasound: Renal (Kidneys, Ureters, Bladder)
A renal ultrasound makes images of your child's kidneys, ureters, and bladder. Doctors may order this test if they suspect kidney damage, cysts, tumors, kidney stones, or complications from urinary tract infections.
- Ultrasound: Scrotum
Doctors order a scrotal ultrasound when they're concerned about symptoms such as scrotal pain or swelling.
- Urine Test: 24-Hour Analysis for Kidney Stones
This test can show if certain substances are found at high concentrations in the urine, and might be causing kidney stones.
- Urine Test: Automated Dipstick Urinalysis
Automated dipstick urinalysis results may point to a urinary tract infection (UTI) or injury, kidney disease, or diabetes.
- Urine Test: Calcium
A urine calcium test can help monitor or determine the cause of kidney stones and other kidney diseases, or detect overactivity or underactivity in the parathyroid glands.
- Urine Test: Creatinine
Low levels of creatinine in the urine may point to a kidney disease, certain muscular and neuromuscular disorders, or an obstruction of the urinary tract.
- Urine Test: Dipstick
A urine dipstick test is often done as part of an overall urinalysis. The results of this test can help doctors diagnose a urinary tract infection (UTI), kidney disease, diabetes, or a urinary tract injury.
- Urine Test: Microalbumin-to-Creatinine Ratio
The microalbumin-to-creatinine ratio test is most commonly used to screen for kidney problems in teens with diabetes. It may also be used to monitor kidney function in kids and teens who have a kidney disease.
- Urine Test: Microscopic Urinalysis
A microscopic urinalysis can help detect a urinary tract infection (UTI), kidney problems, diabetes, or a urinary tract injury.
- Urine Test: Protein
The urine protein test is most commonly used to screen for kidney disease and also can help monitor kidney function.
- Urine Test: Routine Culture
A urine culture is used to diagnose a urinary tract infection (UTI) and determine what kinds of germs are causing it.
- Urine Tests
Is your child having a urine culture or urinalysis performed? Find out why urine tests are performed, and what to expect when the doctor orders them.
- What Is Informed Consent?
Find out what the experts have to say.
- What Is the Multiple Marker Test?
Expectant mothers usually are offered a blood test called the multiple marker test, sometimes called a triple screen or a quad screen. Find out what it measures.
- Wound Drainage Culture
Doctors order wound drainage cultures when they suspect wounds are infected.
- X-Ray Exam: Abdomen
An abdominal X-ray can help find the cause of many abdominal problems, such as pain, kidney stones, intestinal blockage, a hole in the intestine, or an abdominal mass such as a tumor.
- X-Ray Exam: Ankle
An ankle X-ray can help find the cause of symptoms such as pain, tenderness, and swelling, or deformity of the ankle joint. It can also detect broken bones or a dislocated joint.
- X-Ray Exam: Bone Age Study
A bone age study can help evaluate how a child's skeleton is maturing, which can help doctors diagnose conditions that delay or accelerate growth.
- X-Ray Exam: Cervical Spine
This X-ray can, among other things, help find the cause of neck, shoulder, upper back, or arm pain. It's commonly done after someone has been in an automobile or other accident.
- X-Ray Exam: Chest
A chest X-ray is a safe and painless test that uses a small amount of radiation to take a picture of a person's chest, including the heart, lungs, diaphragm, lymph nodes, upper spine, ribs, collarbone, and breastbone.
- X-Ray Exam: Elbow
An elbow X-ray can help find the cause of symptoms such as pain, tenderness, swelling, or a deformity. It can also help to detect broken bones or a dislocated joint.
- X-Ray Exam: Femur (Upper Leg)
A femur X-ray can help find the cause of symptoms such as pain, limp, tenderness, swelling, or deformity of the upper leg. It can detect a broken bone, and after a broken bone has been set, it can help determine whether the bone is in alignment.
- X-Ray Exam: Finger
Doctors may order a finger X-ray to find the cause of symptoms such as pain, tenderness, or swelling, or to detect broken bones or dislocated joints.
- X-Ray Exam: Foot
A foot X-ray can help find the cause pain, tenderness, swelling, or deformities. It also can detect broken bones or dislocated joints.
- X-Ray Exam: Forearm
A forearm X-ray can help find the causes of pain, tenderness, swelling, or deformity. It can detect broken bones, and after a broken bone has been set, help determine whether it has healed properly.
- X-Ray Exam: Hand
A hand X-ray can help find the cause of pain, tenderness, swelling, and deformity. It also can detect broken bones or dislocated joints.
- X-Ray Exam: Hip
A hip X-ray can help find the cause of symptoms such as limping, pain, tenderness, swelling, or deformity in the hip area. It can detect broken bones or a dislocated joint.
- X-Ray Exam: Humerus (Upper Arm)
A humerus X-ray can help find the cause of symptoms such as pain, tenderness, swelling, or deformity of the upper arm. It can detect a broken bone, and after the bone has been set, help determine whether it has healed properly.
- X-Ray Exam: Knee
A knee X-ray can help find the causes of pain, tenderness, swelling, or deformity of the knee, and detect broken bones or a dislocated joint.
- X-Ray Exam: Leg Length
Some kids may have significant differences in the length of their legs, a condition known as leg length discrepancy. This X-ray exam can help doctors determine the exact difference in leg length so they can decide on a treatment.
- X-Ray Exam: Lower Leg (Tibia and Fibula)
An X-ray of the tibia and fibula can help find the cause of pain, tenderness, swelling, or deformity of the lower leg. It can detect broken bones, and after a broken bone has been set, help determine if it has healed properly.
- X-Ray Exam: Neck
A neck X-ray can help diagnose many conditions, including stridor, croup, hoarseness due to swelling in or near the airways, and problems with tonsils and adenoids.
- X-Ray Exam: Pelvis
A pelvis X-ray can help find the cause pain, swelling, or deformity in the pelvic, hip, or upper leg regions, and can detect broken bones.
- X-Ray Exam: Scoliosis
Kids with scoliosis have a spine that curves, like an S or a C. If scoliosis is suspected, a doctor may order X-rays to measure the curvature of the spine.
- X-Ray Exam: Upper Gastrointestinal Tract (Upper GI)
An upper GI X-ray can help find the cause of swallowing difficulties, unexplained vomiting, abdominal discomfort, severe indigestion, ulcers, reflux, hiatal hernia, or blockages.
- X-Ray Exam: Voiding Cystourethrogram (VCUG)
A VCUG can help evaluate the bladder's size and shape, and look for abnormalities, such as a blockage. It can also show whether urine is moving in the right direction.
- X-Ray Exam: Wrist
A wrist X-ray is a safe and painless test that can help find the cause of pain, tenderness, swelling, or show deformities of the wrist joint. It can also detect broken bones or dislocated joints.
- Your Child's Vision
It's important for kids to have their eyes examined regularly, as many vision problems and eye diseases can be detected and treated early.
- Your Daughter's First Gynecology Visit
The idea of going to the gynecologist may make your daughter feel nervous. Here's how to make her feel more comfortable.
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